Chapter Sixty Nine
They had only just entered the Crystal Spires. She held Legacy’s reins, slowly leading him deeper into the area. At first, a spire could only be seen here and there, but the farther they travelled, the more spires they saw and the bigger the spires became, each one reflecting the images of the travellers as they passed by. The creature walked on the other side of Keara, seeming to have taken quite a liking to her.
Keara observed her reflection in one of the spires. She touched it, feeling the cold, clear crystal under her fingertips. An image flashed across the crystal, making her jump. She shook her head, then moved on.
Korian had also experienced the same thing Keara did. But he had thought it best not to mention anything just yet. But soon the images started getting more vivid and vibrant, lasting longer; showing complete scenes of war. At first they thought that it might just be their imagination, but they recognized some of the faces. Keara quickly realized that this wasn’t her imagination; it was her family and friends. She looked away, just as Korian stood next to her.
‘You’ve been seeing it too, haven’t you?’
‘Images of war?’ she asked.
‘Yes. Do you think it’s real?’ she asked again.
‘I don’t know. But we can’t turn back to find out.’ Korian said.
‘I know.’ she put the images out of her mind, but she didn’t move.
The creature bit the sleeve of Keara’s coat and pulled her along as it started walking. When it was sure that Keara was not slowing down, it let go of her sleeve and calmly walked beside her.
The army arrived at the gates. The soldiers atop the gate stared down in fear. The Ravens had prepared everyone for the battle they were about to enter and were now waiting anxiously atop the gate. Deryck and Artemis were also at the gate.
Her image reflected across the spires. At first, nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary, but she soon realized that her reflections weren’t just simple passing images; they were watching her. As her reflections became clearer, she saw that they were holding a weapon and the look in their eyes were sinister.
Korian watched as his reflections took the many different forms he was able to take; they’re eyes dark and dangerous. For the first time, he was afraid of his own power.
The creature realized what was happening to his new companions and moved between them and the spires to try and break the trance. Keara came out of the trance for a moment, but there were too many reflections and only one creature to protect them. All of a sudden, her reflections started attacking. She felt the pain, but her clothes didn’t get torn. She lifted her shirt and saw a cut spread across her torso. Legacy neighed uncontrollably. She let go of his reins and slapped him on the rump so he would start running and leave her behind. She made her way to Korian who was also getting attacked by his reflections, but she stumbled constantly as her own reflections attacked each time she passed a spire. Korian was now in Drow form, but he had been mauled by his reflections and was struggling to get back to his feet. Keara was now standing over him, trying to protect him, but failed. The creature circled around them, giving her the chance to help Korian to his feet. She put his arm around her neck and lifted him to his feet. He slowly moved his feet, though Keara dragged him most of the way. The creature did its best to shield them from the spires, but unfortunately it couldn’t be all around them at once. Eventually, she got injured so badly, she could no longer carry Korian and collapsed to her knees. She forced herself to her feet and draped Korian’s body over the creature’s back, begging it to take her friend to safety even though she wasn’t sure if it would understand her. It looked intently at her, biting her sleeve, trying to drag her along, but she just couldn’t get her legs to move anymore. The creature reluctantly left her behind and carried Korian to safety. Keara was still receiving blows from her reflections and finally collapsed in the snow, falling unconscious.
Artemis’s soldiers atop the gate shot arrows down at their enemy one after the other. Sharzak’s soldiers just kept on coming. They were beating against the gates, against the walls. The gate slowly started to splinter. The ward around the walls was getting weaker, but it didn’t give way.
Sharzak watched in his mind’s eye as his soldiers kept beating the gate down. A wicked smile spread across his face as the gate finally gave way and his soldiers streamed inside the castle grounds.
Now that they were inside, the tide turned drastically. Artemis’s soldiers were dropping fast and the Ravens weren’t able to protect everyone as well as themselves. Adin and Caitlyn also fought diligently, but they knew the humans weren’t going to win this fight unless they did something drastic soon.
The creature had finally caught up with Legacy. They reached the end of the Crystal Spires and finally slowed down. They came to a stop and the creature gently shrugged Korian off and headed back in the direction it had come from.
Adin and Caitlyn threw down their weapons and took each other’s hands. A light glow started emanating from their hands, growing bigger, surrounding them and growing bigger still.
The soldiers could not stand their ground for long; though they had received training from the Ravens, they were still only human.
But Adin and Caitlyn couldn’t allow anything to distract them. They were about to perform their biggest act and it would dictate whether this battle would be won or lost.
The Ravens were fighting diligently, but upon noticing the glow that kept growing bigger and moving past them, they stopped and saw that it was coming from their parents. Even their enemy stopped attacking to see what was going on.
The glow kept growing bigger, extending far past the walls until it finally erupted, slaying each one of their enemies.
‘No!!!’ Sharzak yelled as he looked upon the spectacle in his mind’s eye. The entire army he had sent had been eradicated. He had thought it impossible. But somehow the humans had managed to save themselves from his demons. He threw things around and shards of magic flew in every direction.
A moment later, the light dissipated. Artemis’s soldiers looked around, a little confused by what had just happened. As the sun peaked over the horizon, everyone realized just how great the number of their enemies were and how lucky they were to survive. Michael looked around him, amazed at how quickly the tide of the battle had turned. He climbed over the corpses of the demons, trying to get to the source of the great light that had saved them. But he wasn’t ready for what he was about to see.
Joseph was kneeling next to two bodies, his head bowed. Alexander was standing next to him, looking at Jonathan who couldn’t look away from the bodies between them. Michael didn’t understand what was going on, but Alexander heard him coming and turned to look at him before stepping out of the way. He gasped. He couldn’t believe his eyes.
Keara’s eyes flew open and she drew in a hard breathe while still lying in the snow. The spires displayed the image of her parents dying in their greatest, final act. She gasped; she couldn’t believe that it was true. Her parents were at home. There was no way these visions could be true.
She couldn’t concentrate. Her thoughts were racing and swirling around in her head. Her body was cold and aching. She groaned as she pushed herself up onto her knees. Her image no longer reflected in the Crystal Spires, she only saw images of a battle and she didn’t know if it was real or not.
Before them lay the bodies of Adin and Caitlyn. They had died carrying out their last act. Joseph closed their eyes and wiped away a tear that rolled down his cheek. Michael closed his eyes and bowed his head. Their parents had given their lives to save them.
Artemis and Deryck gave them some space to mourn the loss of their parents. They also knew how painful it was to lose the people who had always taken such good care of them.
She was so weak; she found it hard to even lift her head. She tried to get to her feet, but she struggled to get off her knees. She finally managed to sit up straight and lift her head. She looked around, but before she realized, her reflections began attacking her again. She lay in the snow, trying to leopard-crawl away, thinking that she was going to die. The last time, the creature had protected her from these attacks, but now she was alone and there was nowhere she could hide. She couldn’t even fight back as there was no way to harm her assailants. The snow was stained with her blood.
Just when she thought that this was her final moment, the creature reached her and surrounded her with its body.
After the attacks ended, she forced herself onto her side and looked up at the creature from the corner of her eye. It lay down next to her and patiently waited for her to climb on its back. Once she finally managed to pull herself up, she wrapped her arms around the creature’s neck, then closed her eyes. The creature got up and carried her to safety, running as fast as it could without Keara slipping off.
Joseph and Jonathan helped the humans fix the gate as quickly as possible and hoped that it would last, should they be attacked again. Michael and Alexander assisted the soldiers in burying their dead.
The Ravens had ceased communication with anyone altogether. And it was no wonder why. No one attempted to ask them what was bothering them; there was no reason too. Even Saresse kept her questions to herself.